I’m often asked about what works in promotions; what resonates with the media or public—what entices them to pay attention to your issues?
There are basic elements in promoting a story to the media. It has to have news value or there needs to be an opportunity for wonderful photos/video or great human interest.
Human interest is story telling:
My Life Audio (and lots of other websites) allow for great story telling. Getting someone experienced in developing a story to can bring it to life.
People have an opportunity to tell their stories in a comfortable and supportive environment to establish the most powerful elements. Most of the work is done in the pre-interview.
After establishing the essential elements and setting some ground-rules, participants are comfortable and can deliver a story with grace and power through questions. This brings the story to its fullest potential.
The reluctance some have for telling great stories is bewildering:
Depending on the market (pitching a story in New York or D.C. is much more challenging than smaller markets) you may have to bring strong human interest to almost all events.
A story about how a customer or client benefited through the use of a product or service captures the imagination. How someone overcomes adversity and improves his life through something you offer becomes the key to media interest.
Even if it’s the portrayal of your life story or personal event, people don’t want facts, they want to see, touch, smell and feel what you experienced. This can only be done through great story telling.
The overwhelming number pitches received by the media are trashed in seconds. There is not enough time in the day for the media to cover these stories and most lack one of the three basic elements necessary to prompt coverage.
On the other hand, I’ve seen mediocre stories in tough markets get coverage because the person (or people) attached to the event were just flat-out interesting.
You have to invest time into the lives of the people affected. You have to establish a comfort level with the individual involved and, most important, you have to make sure that the person who centers your story is comfortable with the exposure; that no harm will come to her.
Most find the experience fulfilling and meaningful:
Some feel that personal exposure is simply dangerous; a possible violation of the individual’s privacy.
But most find the experience fulfilling and meaningful and give you tools for best describing what you are trying to promote.
The human-interest component is so compelling that press events featuring the lives of people involved become far more compelling than executives trying to tell the same story. During some press events, I’ve pulled virtually all executives and left the story in the hands of the people most affected.
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